February 23, 2010

Starting the Huffington Post’s Week of Eating In today, here are some decisions I made.
For the rest of the Week,
All food we eat will be cooked in my kitchen.
No restaurants.
No processed foods (naturally.)
Use what’s in the refrigerator, pantry and freezer to round out the meals. After all, I spent weeks last summer “putting up” and sourcing all sorts of foods.
Document it here.

Does that mean everything? I decided YES when we were out doing errands and Dennis said “Let’s stop at Starbucks.” I responded, “No, let’s go home and I’ll make you a latte.”

I may weaken as the week goes on.

Mostly, I suppose, this is an opportunity to provide a view right into the kitchen. What gets cooked, how we eat, every week day in and day out. And how I put together meals for both Dennis who is primarily vegetarian (or, our favorite new tag – a meat reducer) and my more omnivorous nature without spending all day in the kitchen.

At breakfast, our true natures come out.
Dennis: Granola, soy milk, blueberries (Trader Joes, from Chile)
Cathy: No-knead wheat bread, local cheese (CSA) – gouda

Lunch. Dennis is great about eating leftovers. I’m on a minestrone kick. It’s very filling and not fattening.
Dennis: Leftover manicotti
Cathy: Homemade minestrone (from the freezer)

Apple (CSA) & cheese (CSA)
Kelsey’s darn Bundt cake (now half gone)
Roasted tamari almonds

We’ve been travelling, and have missed having Indian tastes, a staple in this house. We both love daal, such a simple, satisfying food, easy to spice up with some of my garden-fresh minced jalapenos (from the freezer.) Add to that, cardamom scented rice, Nigella Lawson’s superb sake-marinated steak, and roasted cauliflower and potato. Homemade mango chutney and thick yogurt balance the heat. A perfect dinner in.
Here are the recipes, and the photos.

Sake-marinated Steak
adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson
Serves 2

2 small beef filet or a few pieces of tenderloin tips, total 10 oz

1 tsp English mustard
2 Tbls Worchestershire sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 T Asian chili or garlic oil (this is quite spicy, adjust to your taste)
1/4 c sake

Canola or grapeseed oil – scant 1/2 tsp.

Mix marinade ingredients, except sake, in a bowl or small ziplock bag. Add beef and marinate for at least 3 hours and up to two days.

About an hour before cooking, take the beef out of the marinade and place on a rack, allowing the beef to dry out a bit.

Place a cast iron or other well-seasoned pan over high heat for three minutes. Add oil, heat for another two minutes.

Add beef and sear on high heat for 3 minutes per side (assuming thick cuts of beef). It should be seered and crispy. Wrap in a double thickness of foil and allow to rest 10 minutes, sitting atop a wooden cutting board or on a stack of newspapers. (This last is direct from Nigella, and such a smart idea. Maybe I’m just dense, but until I read that, it didn’t really occur to me to keep the meat warm and off the cold countertop while it rested. Newspapers are very insulated.)

When ready to serve, heat the sake, boil off the alcohol and reduce by 1/2, then open up the foil, slice the beef and plate over the cardamom rice, adding the accumulated juices to the sake and then drizzle the sauce right over the top.

Cardamom Rice

1 c basmati rice
3 cardamom pods, smashed
2 c water

Bring water to a boil. Add rice and cardamom pods. Bring back to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 13-15 min. then stir with a fork and keep covered until ready to eat.

Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes from Gourmet, 2004. Delicious. Easy. Satisfying.

Yellow Lentil Daal

1 T canola oil
2 c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c water
1 c yellow daal lentils
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 – 2 tsp minced jalapeno
1 Tbls cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in 4 qt saucepan or saucepot with cover. Saute 1 c onion and 1 garlic clove until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add to the pot water, lentils, 1 c onion, 1 garlic clove, spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Add minced jalapeno to taste. Taste and correct for salt. Cook 10 additional minutes.

Remove 1/2 the lentils and blend in the blender (or do as I do and just blitz the whole pan a few times with the immersion blender). Stir in the browned onion and garlic. Top with chopped cilantro.

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